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Alcohol Detox

In 2018, 6% of Texans reported heavy levels of drinking (15 or more drinks per week), and 17% reported binge drinking (5 or more drinks in one occasion). When high levels of alcohol are consumed, the body will start to detox from the alcohol as soon as 6 hours after the last drink. Detoxing and withdrawal go hand in hand and can end up being an unpleasant experience.

Here at SUN Behavioral Health Houston, we offer services for those looking to detox from alcohol. Our trained and licensed staff can help assist you or your loved ones on the road to recovery. We offer medications to help with withdrawal in combination with therapy and other treatment-based, skill-building activities to help you reach your goals.

What is Alcohol Detox?

Alcohol detox is the process of removing alcohol from the body after long-term or heavy consumption. The body has a very intelligent system for removing different toxins and substances when needed, and it starts the process within a few hours of the last drink you consume. 

Detoxing from alcohol lasts an average of 72 hours. This time can be impacted based on things like metabolism, age, and your history of alcohol consumption and other substances. Withdrawal starts in conjunction with detox, but it lasts much longer, up to a few weeks after the last drink is consumed. 

Here are just some of the reasons why it’s not safe for a person to detox at home:

  • If you have a history of seizures, you could experience complications
  • Not having a medical professional around to help with potential side effects can be dangerous
  • If you have a history of depression or suicidal ideation, those things could be magnified during detox
  • If you’ve detoxed from alcohol in the past, this can alter how the body detoxes an additional time, leaving you more vulnerable for potential complications

If you have any of these concerns or histories, you should bring them up with a medical professional before you detox.

Why is Alcohol Detoxification Important?

Detox is a great first step to recovery.  If you’re still actively drinking, it’s not possible to recover from AUD. 

Detoxing helps the body readjust to not having alcohol in the system. When alcohol is consumed on a regular basis, the brain and other organs become used to it. When alcohol is taken away,  it can take time for the body to recover, but this process is very important to healing and long-term recovery from substance use.

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Symptoms of Alcohol Detox

Not everyone who detoxes from alcohol does so intentionally. Since the detox process can begin as quickly as 6 hours after your last drink is consumed, someone might start going through withdrawal and detox without realizing it.

In some instances, this can lead to severe side effects which require medical attention. Here are some of the things you might experience during detox: 

  • Body tremors
  • Dilated pupils
  • Headaches 
  • Restlessness
  • Tachycardia (a fast heart rate) 
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Clammy skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

While seizures can occur within the first 24hours of withdrawal, these are sometimes a sign of a condition known as delirium tremens, which is not an uncommon side effect for those who had a history of long-term alcohol consumption.

Delirium tremens can be severe. If your loved one is experiencing confusion, hypertension, seizures, or hallucinations while detoxing - seek help immediately.


What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?

Withdrawal is caused by an absence of a substance that the body has grown accustomed to or is dependent on. Alcohol alters the brain’s communication pathways over time. The brain and body adjust to this “new normal.”. When the substance is removed, a variety of withdrawal symptoms often occur as the body reacts.

Luckily, there are many medications that can be used to help those that are experiencing alcohol withdrawal. These medications help manage the side effects during the withdrawal period.

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The Alcohol Detox Timeline

The process of detoxing from alcohol starts as soon as you finish your last drink. While this time frame can vary from person to person depending on many factors, here is an average timeline you will see during the detox and withdrawal process.

  • Six hours after you have your last drink, the body will start to begin detoxing from alcohol on its own. Withdrawal symptoms can occur anytime after the alcohol detoxification process has started.
  • The worst withdrawal symptoms tend to pop up during the first 24 - 48 hours. These include symptoms such as seizures or hallucinations.
  • The detox and withdrawal process will peak within the first three days. The process of detoxing only lasts a few days, but withdrawal and its side effects can last up to a few weeks. 

The body’s healing process when recovering from long-term AUD can be much longer than a few weeks. Organs such as the liver, pancreas, and even your mouth will slowly start to recover the longer it’s been since your detoxification has finished. Some people experience weight loss and even find that their skin appears to be healthier over time. Stopping alcohol consumption can also lower your risks of various forms of cancer, such as oral or liver. 

Alcohol Detox at SUN Houston

Our goal at SUN Behavioral Health is to ensure that our community thrives. We strive to help educate and support our patients and their families during the rehab journey. We know that everyone’s road to recovery is different, which is why we offer different services to give our patients options. 


FAQs About Alcohol Detoxing

How does the body heal when you stop drinking?

The body works to heal many things after you stop drinking, such as rebuilding your immune system, working to repair your liver, and altering your brain to adjust to not having alcohol in your system anymore. Some people also notice changes such as weight loss, increased energy, and better-looking skin. 

How long does it take for the body to recover from alcoholism?

While the detox process finishes after only a few days, recovery from alcoholism can vary from person to person. Withdrawal symptoms typically last a few weeks, but it takes longer than that to relearn certain behaviors and for organs to heal. 

What is Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS)?

AWS is the collection of side effects during the withdrawal from alcohol. This primarily occurs in those who have a history of long-term alcohol use. Some of the more serious side effects of AWS include hallucinations, delirium tremens, and seizures. 

Alcohol Detox in Houston

The capable team at SUN Houston has been serving our community for years. Reach out to begin your journey to recovery.


SUN Behavioral Houston

7601 Fannin Street
Houston, TX, 77054

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